Values in Limoges porcelain peaked in the 1980s but slumped in recent years due to the number of pieces flooding the market from estate sales.
Floral French Limoges porcelain was very popular from the last quarter of the 19th century until the beginning of the First World War in 1914.
Pottery in this style was mass-produced for the export market during these years, and much of it still survives, so it is not considered rare.
Laviolette used the maker’s mark on this vanity tray from 1896 to 1905. Not much is known about the company; a great deal of their production appears to have been undecorated blanks, which means it was sold as fired to other companies and studios who did the design work.
Hand-painted pieces like this were often purchased as blanks and are generally referred to as “white ware.” The largest center of production of undecorated blanks for this market was Limoges, France. These blanks were exported all over the world, and generally such blanks do carry the marking from the company that made them but don’t always the markings of the decorator or artist
The maker’s mark of this Laviolette Limoges porcelain shows a blank mark and a decorator mark, meaning it was made and decorated by the company.
This one carries both the green “blank” marking and the red decorator mark, indicating it was both made and decorated by the Laviolette pottery.
Values for Limoges climbed dramatically during the 1980s but have slumped a great deal in recent years. This downturn is mainly due to estate clearances of the World War Two generation, which flooded the market with late 19th- to early 20th-century pottery and depressed values for Limoges and other forms of Victorian pottery and porcelain.
In the current market comparable pieces of Laviolette Limoges similar to this one often sell at auction in the $85-to-$120 range and can retail for more than $200.
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
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